Building an Ecological Civilization

Social Anarchism: A Journal of Theory & Practice, No. 38, 2007

18 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2007

See all articles by Roy S. Morrison

Roy S. Morrison

affiliation not provided to SSRN


This article discusses, in depth, the underlying global dynamics and specific policies informing an ecological turn and the movement from an industrial to an ecological civilization. The complete transformation from industrial to ecological civilization will be an historic project, the work of 150 years or more. Fortunately, the self-destructive reality of industrial civilization has created not just the necessity for an ecological turn, but the conditions that will facilitate fundamental change.

The building and co-evolution of an ecological democracy in all its forms is crucial to an ecological turn. Ecological democracy is the social context and structure for sustainability. The details of an ecological turn, of course, are complex. But building an ecological civilization can be part of the every day practice of our lives in democratic and market-based social systems.

Crucial for an ecological democracy is to make economic growth must mean ecological improvement, not ecological destruction. This is a practical working definition for sustainability. The aim is long-term ecological restoration. A sustainable civilization is built on an ensemble of actions that keep human activity well within the so-called ecological caring capacity of our world locally and globally. An Ecological Value Added Tax (EVAT), to replace all taxes on income, to make the market send correct price signals is discussed in detail to be combined with some form of Basic Income Grant (BIG) for existential security to hold lower income groups harmless from the regressive nature of consumption taxes.

The fundamental challenge is not technical, but social, political, and economic. The central task for people is building a vital and durable ecological democracy. At issue is what types of markets and market rules, what political forms and democratic norms, what laws and regulations, if any, do we need in order for us to do both good and well?

We can use the tools at hand, democracy and markets, appropriately employed to move from a self-destructive, industrial present to a peaceful, just and sustainable ecological future.

Keywords: Ecological Civilization, Ecological Taxation, Globalization, Sustainability, Negative Income Tax, Basic Income Grant

JEL Classification: P16, E61, H20, O10, O30,O38, Q20,A13,D40, D62, E10

Suggested Citation

Morrison, Roy S., Building an Ecological Civilization. Social Anarchism: A Journal of Theory & Practice, No. 38, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Roy S. Morrison (Contact Author)

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